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Folding container

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Title: Folding container.
Abstract: A folding container having integrally formed hinge elements. The container including a base portion, first and second lower side wall portions having a snap-fitted hinge connection to a first side and second side of the base portion respectively, first and second upper side wall portions having a hinge connection to the lower side wall portions, and a rim portion having a snap-fitted hinge connection to the first and second upper side wall portions, and end walls having a hinged connection to the rim portion. The hinge elements including hook-shaped snaps having a first ramp segment and a second ramp segment on the outer surface of the hook portion to facilitate connection of a hinge axel to the hook-shaped snaps. A tongue and groove combination in the lower and upper side wall portions to provide structural support for loads placed on the container. The folding container including locking tabs in the base portion for engaging notches in the lower side wall portions when the container is in a folded configuration. A plurality of stanchion ribs extending upward from the rim portion to supports loads on the container. A locking tab having a window for providing visible evidence the end wall is properly positioned in an unfolded configuration. A stamping tab extending downward from the rim to facilitation hot stamping of the tab when the container is assembled. ...


Browse recent Orbis Corporation patents - Oconomowoc, WI, US
Inventor: Venu Samprathi
USPTO Applicaton #: #20110056935 - Class: 220 6 (USPTO) - 03/10/11 - Class 220 
Receptacles > Sectional >Folding

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20110056935, Folding container.

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CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/114,192 filed May 2, 2008.

FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The invention generally relates to a foldable container having integrally molded hinges, and more particularly to a pin-less foldable container having components that are snap-fitted together to provide a secure structure for withstanding internal and external pressures.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Foldable or collapsible containers are useful in transporting and/or storing a variety of items or goods. In particular, such containers can be used to transport automotive (or other similar) parts.

Foldable containers take up less volume in a collapsed state. Accordingly, such containers can be more efficiently transported when empty. However, because the containers are collapsible, it is important that they are structurally sound during transportation, both in the unfolded, load carrying configuration, as well as in the collapsed or folded configuration.

In order to be foldable, the containers are formed to have a number of moving parts, such as side walls and end walls that collapse inwardly. To accomplish this, hinge elements are incorporated into the container. Such hinge elements have typically required one or more pins be inserted into the element to act as an axel.

In some known containers, certain of the hinge elements can be formed without a pin by creating axel nubs (e.g., partial cylindrical extensions) that extend from projections from one component of the container, that mate with a corresponding enclosure on another component. However, these are typically not as strong as having a complete axel extend through out the hinge element, and are prone to easily disengage during use.

A number of considerations are involved in designing and creating such foldable containers. These include cost of construction, number of parts, time and manpower required to assemble, time and manpower to fix or replace parts, cost of materials, strength, stability, etc.

The present invention is provided to solve the problems discussed and to provide advantages and aspects not provided by prior folding containers of this type. A full discussion of the features and advantages of the present invention is deferred to the following detailed description, which proceeds with reference to the accompanying drawings.

SUMMARY

OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a foldable container that can be quickly and easily assembled. The container is constructed from components that are snap fitted together without requiring the insertion of separate pins into hinge structures on the container. The container also includes structures to provide strength and stability in both a folded and unfolded configuration.

According to one aspect of the invention, a pin-less folding container is provided. The container includes a generally rectangular base portion having a top or upper surface for supporting goods. The base portion includes a first side and an opposing second side, a first end and an opposing second end. A plurality of hook-shaped snap elements are integrally formed with and extend upward from the top surface of the base portion along the first side and a plurality of hook-shaped snap elements are integrally formed with and extend upward from the top surface of the base portion along the second side. A short ledge extends upward about a periphery of the top surface.

The foldable container also includes a generally rectangular rim portion having a first side, an opposing second side, a first end and an opposing second end collectively defining a central rectangular opening. The rim portion includes a plurality of integrally formed hook-shaped snap elements extending downward from the first side of the rim portion and a plurality of integrally formed hook-shaped snap elements extending downward from the second side of the rim portion.

The foldable container additionally includes a first side wall connected to the first side of the base portion and the first side of the rim. The first side wall includes a first lower side wall portion. The first lower side wall portion includes a plurality of integrally formed hinge axels in a bottom of the first lower side wall portion. Each hinge axel is formed as cylindrical bar extending between a first wall of a square or rectangular gap in the bottom of the lower side wall portion, and a second wall of the gap, and is positioned in one of the plurality of hook-shaped snap elements along the first side of the base portion to form a rotational hinge connection between the first lower side wall portion and the first side of the base portion. The first lower side wall portion also includes an integrally formed top hinge element (e.g., either one or more axels or hook shaped projections) on a top of the first lower side wall portion for engagement with a corresponding hinge element.

The first side wall also includes a first upper side wall portion. The first upper side wall portion has an integrally formed bottom hinge element rotationally connected to the top hinge element of the first lower side wall portion (e.g., either one or more axels or hook shaped projections to correspond to the axels or hook shaped projections of the lower side wall portion). Additionally, the first upper side wall portion includes a plurality of integrally formed hinge axels. Each hinge axel is formed as cylindrical bar extending between a first wall of a gap in the upper side wall portion and a second wall of the gap and is positioned in one of the plurality of hook-shaped elements along the first side of the rim portion.

The container also includes a second side wall having a second lower side wall portion and a second upper side wall portion similar to that of the first side wall. The second side wall is connected to the second side of the base portion and the rim portion.

The rim portion can also include a plurality of integrally formed hook-shaped snap elements extending downward from each of the first and second ends of the rim portion. A first end wall having a plurality of integrally formed hinge axels along a top of the first end wall can be rotationally connected to the first end of the rim portion. Each hinge axel is formed as cylindrical bar extending between a first wall of a gap in the first end wall and a second wall of the gap and is positioned in one of the plurality of hook-shaped elements on the first end of the rim portion. Similarly, the rim portion can include a second end wall having a plurality of integrally formed hinge axels along a top of the second end wall. Again, each hinge axel is formed as cylindrical bar extending between a first wall of a gap in the second end wall and a second wall of the gap and is positioned in one of the plurality of hook-shaped elements on the second end.

To facilitate assembly of the container and maintain the side walls in proper position, the container can further include a plurality of ribs having a curved upper surface for engaging a portion of the bottom of the lower side wall portion extending along the first side and second side of the base portion. Similarly, the container can include a plurality of ribs having a curved upper surface for engaging a portion of the top of the upper side wall portion extending along the first side and second side of the rim portion.

The hook-shaped snap elements can be uniquely configured to facilitate snapping the side wall portion or end wall into place. In this regard, each hook-shaped element can include a first flat ramp segment inclined at a first angle with respect to the vertical, and configured to guide a corresponding hinge axel (initially moving along or engaging the otherwise curved exterior surface of the hook portion of the element) to snap the hinge axel into position in the interior of the hook-shaped snap element.

Additionally, each hook-shaped snap element can include a second flat ramp segment positioned between the first flat ramp segment and an end of the hook portion. The second flat ramp segment can be inclined at a second angle greater than the first angle, and configured to further facilitate and guide a corresponding hinge axel to snap the hinge axel into position in the hook-shaped snap element.

The base portion of the container can include a first side wall locking tab extending upward from the top surface of the base portion, and a second side wall locking tab extending upward from the top surface of the base portion. The first lower side wall portion includes a notch for engaging the first locking tab when the container is in a folded configuration, and the second lower side wall portion includes a notch for engaging the second locking tab when the container is in a folded configuration. The tabs and notches prevent the side walls from moving during transportation in a folded configuration.

In accordance with another embodiment of the present invention, a container having components with integrally formed hinge elements is provided. The container includes a rectangular base having a plurality of integrally formed upwardly extending snap-hooks along a first side of the base, and a plurality of integrally formed upwardly extending snap-hooks along a second side of the base. The snap-hooks have a hook shaped portion including a first flattened ramp segment along an exterior of the hook shaped portion. The container further includes a first side wall connected to the first side of the base having a plurality of integrally formed hinge axels extending between a corresponding plurality of gaps in the bottom of the first side wall portion and, a second side wall connected to the second side of the base having a plurality of integrally formed hinge axels extending between a corresponding plurality of gaps in the bottom of the second side wall portion



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20110056935 A1
Publish Date
03/10/2011
Document #
12939554
File Date
11/04/2010
USPTO Class
220/6
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
65D8/14
Drawings
17



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